Published: 25th NOVEMBER 2019

More than two thirds of Scottish town and city dwellers think we shouldn’t need cars for everyday journeys

More than two-thirds of Scots think people should be able to make their everyday journeys without a car, new research has revealed.

A mum fastens her daughter's seat belt in the car after going shopping

The findings form part of a YouGov survey of 1,048 drivers living in urban areas in Scotland. It also found that almost three-quarters of those surveyed think people should be able to meet most of their everyday needs within a 20-minute walk, cycle or local public transport trip from their home.

80% think it’s important for the Scottish government to enable people to have a good standard of living in Scotland without needing a car.

Although Scots are keen to ditch their car where possible, the survey also found that even in urban areas most people tend to drive because there are no other transport choices.

Commissioned by walking and cycling charity Sustrans Scotland, the Reducing Car Use report investigated the influences behind people’s travel choices and how they viewed different types of transport. It also looked at the best ways to encourage people to reduce their personal car use. 

It found that people wanted to live in healthier and more attractive places – with more than half of those surveyed supporting a range of measures to reduce car use in towns and cities, including:

  • Closing off streets directly outside schools to all traffic at drop off and pick up times
  • Stopping polluting vehicles from entering areas of high air pollution to improve air quality
  • Creating regular car-free days at weekends
  • Restricting traffic in residential streets.
A mother and her daughter use a traffic-free cycle path for a shopping trip

Speaking about the findings, Sustrans Scotland Director Grace Martin said:

“Too many neighbourhoods in Scotland have been planned around car travel at the expense of providing the local jobs and services that a community needs to thrive.

“We need to make sure that planning towns and cities focus on creating healthy, low carbon neighbourhoods, where people live within a 20-minute walk of everyday services and needs.

“This includes putting a stop to building new roads when other options exist to improve public transport, walking and cycling.

"We should be taking bigger steps to ensure that walking, cycling and public transport are the most attractive, convenient and cheapest ways to get around our towns and cities. In fact, it should be a no-brainer.”

Past research, however, found more than one million Scots live in areas at risk of transport poverty. These are places where people do not have access to essential services or work because of a lack of nearby amenities and affordable transport options.

Download the full Reducing Car Use report

Find out more about our work in Scotland

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